If you are a writer like me who needs (and likes) to get things written down, then the master notes and ideas file is one of your most important writing assets.
What is the master notes and ideas file? I hear you ask.
It is essentially what it sounds like. A single file on your computer that has every single idea for a book, story line, character(s), situation or incident (usually a funny or particularly poignant one), that you have.
So, when you have been out and about and have seen, thought, heard that gem of an idea and you write it in your notebook, this file is where you keep it. As you type up that event you will find that one or two sentences become a few paragraphs. A few paragraphs become a few pages and you will soon find yourself in full free writing flow.
Do not move, stay there and keep writing. It doesn’t have to make sense, it can be a series of bullet points or a list. One or two parts may become “proper” writing, just keep at it and write it all down. Let your imagination out on the longest lead you have and keep writing.
You will end up with the basics for a book or indeed several books. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get it all written down in that file and you save it and back it up.
When this happens to me and I am in free flow I am in such a place that the world around me does not exist. All I do is breath and write. Breath and write and I let myself go.
Print it off and keep it safe. There is work to do on that file, later.
Sometime later, read that file. Look for commonalities, trends and themes. See how parts of the file fit together, see what parts don’t fit. Soon, you will be going through it and organising the various parts into collective ideas for your next book or books.
I have so much information in my master notes and ideas file that I have created a spreadsheet of all the different books and storylines/plots that there are. It is an extensive list and having made it, the ideas contained in it are working in the background of my unconscious mind until BAM! one comes to the fore and that particular idea grows into a story.
One of the key things that a writer must do is to write down all of those ideas, gems and situations that you can. The next step is to transfer those gifts into your master file.
Trust me, it will be the most important file you have.